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Ryan Swilley wins Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award

The Florida superintendent has made connections with members of Congress on behalf of the golf industry.

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Filed to: Advocacy, Florida

Ryan Swilley
Superintendent Ryan Swilley (right) with Greg Langowski, regional director for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, at Gulf Stream (Fla.) Golf Club, a 1924 Donald Ross design on the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy of Ryan Swilley


Ryan Swilley, golf course superintendent at Gulf Stream (Fla.) Golf Club, has received GCSAA’s Grassroots Ambassador Leadership (GAL) Award.

The award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, GAL winners receive a trip to the 2020 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.

“Congratulations to Ryan for being recognized for his hard work and dedication to the golf industry,” says Rhett Evans, CEO of GCSAA. “As a grassroots ambassador, he is a passionate advocate for golf in Florida and on the national level.”

The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador program, which pairs superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships with them. More than 350 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.

A 12-year member of GCSAA, Swilley became an ambassador in 2017. He is also an active member and serves as treasurer of the Palm Beach GCSA. A presentation at a chapter meeting was what sparked his involvement in the ambassador program.

“The program appealed to me because I recognize the many challenges the golf industry faces from a legislative and regulatory perspective at each level of government,” Swilley says. “I saw this opportunity as a way to make an impact on a broader scale by honing my skills as a leader and bringing people together to tackle issues facing our industry.”

Swilley was originally paired with U.S. Rep. Brian Mast and had several meetings with the congressman to discuss GCSAA’s priority issues. More recently, Swilley has been paired with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and has hosted Rubio’s regional director, Greg Langowski, at Gulf Stream Golf Club.

“I took him around our property in April and discussed labor issues, environmental initiatives, and regulatory issues impacting fertilizers and pesticides,” Swilley says. “He was very impressed by the many efforts being made to conserve water, protect the environment, and provide a sound ecosystem for wildlife and golfers alike.”

Swilley has been a regular at National Golf Day, having attended the event the past three years to advocate on behalf of the golf industry on Capitol Hill.

Filed to: Advocacy, Florida

You may also like: GCM’s golf advocacy resources